The Note: Play Ball

WASHINGTON, Apr. 3

There are only two stories in all of American politics today.

(And by "today" we mean "this day -- Monday," not "these days.")

One is: What percentage of the negative press being rained down on Memphis straw poll champion Sen./Dr./Leader Frist is being generated by potential 2008 rivals who think they see a chance to remove one piece from the Stratego board even before it is actually set up?

And the other story is: (most) politicians and (most) political reporters actually wanted to be professional athletes or sports writers (and still do). So on this day when the Googling monkeys are obsessed with the over/under in the NC2A men's basketball final, let us tell you in granular detail about the past and future of a frustrated Willie Mays and former MLB owner.

Courtesy of the reportorially meticulous Karen Travers (a three-time MVP and Golden Glove winner for ABC News):

President Bush throws out the ceremonial first pitch at the Cincinnati Reds home opener against the Chicago Cubs, at approximately 2:04 pm ET and then stay at the game for a few innings.

President Bush is the former owner of the Texas Rangers and an avid baseball fan. He has thrown out a ceremonial first pitch at Major League Baseball games the last two seasons

Here is a list of President Bush's first pitches since he took office in 2001:

April 3, 2006

Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs – Cincinnati OH

Aug 13, 2005

Little League Baseball's Southwestern Regional tournament – Waco TX

April 14, 2005

Washington Nationals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – Washington DC

April 6, 2004

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers – St. Louis MO

March 21, 2003 - cancelled appearance in Cincinnati

President Bush was invited to throw out the first pitch at the Cincinnati Reds new stadium but the White House declined the invitation and sent former President George H. W. Bush instead. And he came through, pitching a strike.

October 30, 2001

World Series Game 3: New York Yankees v. Arizona Diamondbacks – Yankee Stadium, New York City

This was President Bush's third trip to New York City after the attacks of Sept. 11. He walked to the mound wearing a sweatshirt that said FDNY and threw a strike just off the center of the plate as the crowd of more than 57,000 chanted "USA, USA"

That series and President Bush's pitch were chronicled in the documentary, "Nine Innings From Ground Zero" and he describes the pitch in an interview from the Oval Office. "The president expresses his own awe for the newly exalted Yankees, calling the shortstop 'the great Derek Jeter,' who had just warned the 'Prez' that cutting the distance between pitcher's mound and home plate would be a sign of more than just a weak arm. 'I didn't want people to think their president was incapable of finding the plate,' Mr. Bush later explains from the Oval Office." (New York Times, Sept. 14, 2004)

And: bonus Bush baseball coverage!!!!!

August 26, 2001

Little League World Series Championship game

President Bush became the first sitting president to visit the Little League World Series and was enshrined in the Little League's Hall of Excellence, as the first former Little League player to become president.

June 8, 2001

College World Series: Stanford vs. Tulane, Omaha, NE

April 6, 2001

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee WI

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